Blessed are the Piecemakers

It's been a busy couple of days, but there isn't much to show for it. We're still working at making peace between the two cat residents of the house. Despite Smitty's whiny blog post this morning (yes, I did read it), he's doing a little better at getting along with Maggie. For her part, she's much less fearful than she was the day before. Smitty seems more curious about her than aggressive, although he's plenty jealous. She's also seeming more curious about him, rather than fearful. A couple of times, we've seen them looking at one another through the glass door.

Maggie has really taken to Mike too, which is nice for him. Of course, she's in his office, and so when he's in there working, she's sitting on his lap or exploring his desk or sitting in the window next to his desk. It's nice to see her acting more like a cat. She's also eating her food and has a big appetite for such a petite little thing. So...fingers still crossed, but we're feeling pretty optimistic that we can help them work out their differences.

As for me, I made up the next pieces for the Written in Thread quilt, although I've yet to start any stitching on them.

Today, I was finally able to get the Quilting Snowladies sandwiched for quilting. I'm really hoping to get started on that tomorrow. The Quilting Snowladies have been all atwitter for months about their turn for quilting. Now that we're getting ready to start, they're a little more quiet. I think they might be needle weenies. I'll take it slow and easy for them.

Most of my accomplishments of the past two days (aside from avoiding cat fights) have been in the kitchen. Believe it or not, I still had a spaghetti squash left over from our CSA that ended just before Thanksgiving. I don't know about you, but I think spaghetti squash is highly over-rated. That's not to say I don't like it...I just think there are better choices where squash is concerned. Nevertheless, this recipe for Rao's Meatballs with Marinara Sauce caught my eye recently. Mike really loves meatballs. It doesn't say to serve it over pasta or anything else, but I started thinking I could serve it over the spaghetti squash anyway, and make it a one-dish meal. 

Since I only made half the recipe for the meatballs, that meant using 1/2 pound of ground beef and 1/2 pound of ground pork. Otherwise, I halved everything, including the amount of water it says to add. I only needed to add 1/4 cup of water to get the meatballs to a perfect consistency. It made a really nice flavorful meatball. I didn't bother making the sauce, but used a quart of my home-made pasta sauce from this past summer instead. You could just as easily use a quart of your favorite store-bought pasta sauce. It's not a very good picture. The steam from the dish steamed up my lens. Anyway, it was very tasty, and easy to do. Even at making only half the recipe, there's enough for another meal.

To celebrate the new year, we're having a ham dinner tonight. I purchased a spiral cut honey ham from our local megamart and I made Ina Garten's Maple Baked Beans to go with it. I've extolled the virtues of Ina Garten's beans on this blog before. Honest to goodness, they're the best baked beans EVER! They aren't hard, but you have to start well ahead since the beans are soaked overnight, and then they're cooked low and slow in the oven all day. Dee-lish. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded. 

Also, a 7-Layer Salad, only Mike likes to keep reminding me that it's only a 6-Layer Salad today since my celery was looking a little flaccid. Yeah...that's probably all I need to say about that. I just really wanted to use the word "flaccid" in a sentence about food. Anyway...I always use my mother's recipe for this...only tonight, no celery. 

I can no longer make this salad without chuckling about Erik's text to me before a 4th of July celebration:

Finally, the dessert to top all others, in my humble opinion...good old, all American, apple crisp. Everybody probably has their favorite recipe for apple crisp. I happen to like this one inspired by a recipe from the Quaker Oats website. I don't think it's possible to have a proper apple crisp unless the topping contains oatmeal.

Oatmeal Apple Crisp
inspired by a recipe found on the Quaker Oats website.

4 cups  cooking apples -- chunked
1/2 tablespoon  lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup regular oats -- uncooked
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup  melted butter

Peel apples; cut into bite-sized chunks and place in a 8 x 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with lemon juice and toss to coat.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine dry ingredients into bowl.  Mix melted butter with dry ingredients and mix with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples.  Bake at 350°F. for about 1/2 hour or until apples are tender.

Recipe may be doubled.  Use 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

And so the first day of 2016 is coming to an end. It's starting out pretty well. I read a quote yesterday that seems a good place to start a new year with a clean slate...this one from Bessie Anderson Stanley:

"Live well, Laugh often, Love much."

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quilting Babcia said...

Sounds like your post should be titled 'blessed are the peacemakers' since it looks like you and Mike have been pretty busy perfecting your skills in that area. Loved Smitty's lament this morning!

Kate said...

Now I'm hungry. As New Year's day is typically slugville around here, no one cooked and no one wanted to shower so we could go out. It all looks yummy. Glad there looks to progress in achieving peace in kittydom.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh my - everything looks so yummy!! Friendships will form in due time I am sure.

Lyndsey said...

Mmmm food. I love Apple Crumble which is your apple crisp without the oatmeal. Years ago I started adding oatmeal but my children complained so I stopped. Today I will make Apple Crisp as the family is coming over and they won't be able to complain as it's a totally different recipe with a different name .... plus if they don't like it there will be more for me.

Michele said...

I'm glad to hear that they are starting on the road to becoming friends and everyone is giving Smitty great advice and insights into his new role as mentor to the poor sweet Maggie. I hope that soon he will realize that she will be a lot more fun than Gracie was since she is still very young and able to run with him too.

Dana Gaffney said...

You picked the right start for the Written in Thread, did the current circumstances help you decide? I love hearing that Mike and Maggie are bonding, it's really good for both of them.

MoniqueB said...

I'm with you on the crisp topping. If there aren't oats it isn't a crisp! Glad the kitties are coming along.

quiltzyx said...

I'm sure that Maggie will fit right in, in a few more days. She is sweet looking & purrful. Those beans do look yummy - just like pretty much everything you make does! I actually made something to take to work & share on New Year's Eve. I got some lovely, fresh celery at Sprouts market - oh my gosh did it smell good!! And it was dark green too. And did I mention fresh? There was still dirt on it! Anyway, I made stuffed celery, stuffed with cream cheese & chopped cashews. YUM! Good news/bad news at work: everybody liked it, so when we were packing up to leave at noon, I only had one piece left. I think it's safe to say, I could take that in again, don't you?
The Snow Ladies look so lovely in their setting now!